The Cripps health centre is stopping free sexual health services and you should be worried

There will be regrets ending the free sexual health service in about 9 months’ time.


I can’t afford a single-way tram ticket, let alone a pack of condoms. So it’s a good thing I’m not sexually active. But for those who are, the City Council’s decision to axe the free sexual health service at Cripps this month may be an issue.

University isn’t a parallel universe; just because you’re now around more people doesn’t mean you’re more appealing. But for many, their journey does at some point involve copulation, experimentation and, on the rare occasion if you're female, sexual gratification.

It comes as a surprise, then, that this is the only chosen service at the health centre to end – I'm not saying everyone here is libidinous, but sex and uni students are no strangers (though there should never be any pressure to have sex – you do you, and do others when you are ready and want to).

Let's stop beating around the bush and start rolling in the hay: sexual-related matters, especially if it's your first time, can be daunting. Even seeking contraception can be an ordeal; I fainted after seeing a plastic replica of the implant during my consultation, and when the actual thing got inserted I was laying on a stretcher – which had been brought in especially because I was being that extra – crying on the phone to my boyfriend.

Image may contain: Fir, Abies, Pine, Tree, Plant, Larch, Flora, Conifer, Lawn, Field

Millions is being spent on the new health centre on campus – due to open in autumn next year – yet there still isn't funding for sexual health tests and protection

Sex is emotional and physical, so it's common for people to have fears or be in the dark about things. And if something goes awry, and you need an STI diagnosis or treatment, then Cripps has your back – or, rather, your genitals. We need Cripps, to be there when you require sexual health counselling, or when you're seeking contraception, or when you need a hand squeeze whilst laying on the stretcher in tears, am I right? Anyone?

It's not that students here are incompetent; we're at a Russell Group university, and that means more people have done A-Levels than BTECs. But depriving us from something that's free, that we're comfortable with, and that's actually helpful, is going to discourage students from getting help. And that’s not a good outcome.

Councillor Nick McDonald justified the cut by calling the sexual health service "additional and complementary to core provision". But sex is an integral part of life. Instead of withdrawing funding for the sexual health service, perhaps we should move it higher up the list of priorities?